Monday, August 1, 2011

Teach Your Children Well

In life, there are the big moments--movie climax moments, when the sun is setting and the important music is playing, the music crescendoing, when everything becomes golden and exciting and full of promise--and then there are the small moments, when the background music is the hum of the neighbor's lawn mower, the feel is the touch of a hand, the knowledge settling that there is hope to be had in the next week, the next day, the next few minutes.

It takes quite a while to understand that we've got it all backwards; we've let our lesser selves pull a switcheroo. The big moments, truly, are the small ones.

My daughter turned two years old on Friday. This is not a huge deal--toddlers turn two to parents around the world, even parents like my husband and me, every single day. Bigger stuff has happened. This event, instead, was a small moment--of the best kind. We celebrated with friends and family and balloons and cake and sprinklers and hot dogs. We dealt with the after-effects of a sugar high (courtesy of a massive cupcake my husband and I thought would be fun to give our daughter the night of her real birthday) and over-stimulation (courtesy of the crazy backyard waterfest that edged into naptime on the day we threw her party, in addition to a trio of far-too exciting overnight guests: her aunts and cousin).

She is a bundle of energy and emotion and joy and inconsistency and imagination, our daughter. And for the past two years, we have managed to keep her safe, clean and healthy--and, I believe, happy. (Okay, this possibly qualifies as a big deal.) We're even a little proud of ourselves.

I hope, that in a world full of stimuli insisting that it is only the big moments that matter--the graduations, the big kisses, the rings and the Christmas mornings, bright lights and big city--we'll be able to teach her about the joy in the small things, the common things, the everyday gifts: the sight of stars, the special letter in the mail, the smile from a stranger, cool water on a sweltering summer day, a face full of cupcake.

That these moments are more than enough.